sometimes you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal

From the time I was a little girl, my mother would never censor anything my sister and I did. We were watching Grease every day (the innuendos, language, and mature situations sailing completely over my head- I only found out about Rizzo's almost-pregnancy a good eight years later). She took us to shows like Guys and Dolls and let us listen to all the music she did. Most importantly, she encouraged us to read whatever we wanted.

There are so many parents that are far too invested in what their children listen to or watch or read. They think anything that is not sealed with the feathery yellow Big Bird stamp of approval will surely perish the tiny minds (that is certainly not to say that we didn't watch Sesame Street--it taught my brother how to read). And I think that's such a problem. And perhaps it's not my place as a seventeen year old girl to be giving parenting tips, but that's not a good way to raise your children

Censoring gives way to rebellion, without a doubt. If children are told they can't do something or watch something or read something, they will want nothing more than to do or watch or read that thing. And maybe it's just my character or maybe it's my parents' (in my opinion, superior) anti-censoring style of parenting, but my greatest rebellion in recent memory was going to a park by myself without my mother receiving a text about it. I don't rebel because I don't have anything to rebel about. BECAUSE MY MOM LET ME WATCH WHATEVER MUSICALS I WANTED.

The censoring of Harry Potter is one of the saddest problems to me. On more than one occasion, I've struck up conversation with little kids I'm babysitting regarding Harry Potter and whether they've read the books. And on more than one occasion, they've replied that their parents won't let them read it.

Frankly, no other piece of fiction has shaped my life and my character more than Harry Potter. And to think that so many kids aren't getting that beautiful experience of cracking open that spine for the first time because their parents think it's full of witchcraft or too scary or whatever? That kind of tears my heart in two. There's absolutely nothing like reading a Harry Potter book when you're a little kid, and I want more kids to be able to do that before they're all grown up. The fact that parents are actually discouraging their children from reading is tragic. To me, if a kid wants to read a book, you let them read it. Unless it's 50 Shades of Grey, more books in a child's life is never going to hurt them.

To put it very shortly, let your kids read and watch and listen to whatever the hell they want. Whatever you are trying to protect them from will dawn on them eventually. But when they're kids, they're nothing but words.

photo sources: one, two, three, four

(title from John Green's The Fault In Our Stars)